Spotted a sparrow? Tell BirdLife!

BirdLife Malta and The Inspire Foundation launch new community project to map Malta’s sparrows and protect their roosting trees.

Spanish sparrow singing (Photo: Aron Tanti)
Spanish sparrow singing (Photo: Aron Tanti)
Spanish sparrows (Photo: Tim Micallef)
Spanish sparrows (Photo: Tim Micallef)

BirdLife Malta and The Inspire Foundation have launched ‘Spot a Sparrow - Report a Roost’, a joint project to map Malta’s sparrows, and are calling for the public to help protect the birds’ roosting trees by reporting sparrow sightings in their area.

Spanish Sparrows (għasfur tal-bejt in Maltese) are one of Malta’s most numerous and well known birds.

They are also very sociable, and during the winter months they gather together in huge numbers at dusk to spend the night in large, leafy trees. The project aims to compile a complete map of these roosting sites across the islands, in order to ensure that the trees are better protected.

‘Spot a Sparrow’ is encouraging the public to reporting their sightings and share their sparrow stories on the new interactive website www.spotasparrow.org

“You don’t need to be a bird expert to take part,” says Nick Piludu of BirdLife Malta. “Sparrows are extremely gregarious birds, and their noisy chattering will be very obvious to anyone in the area. Just by taking a walk around your neighbourhood at dusk and reporting your local roost, you are providing us with valuable scientific information.”

Working with The Inspire Foundation, the SOS Malta funded project has provided bird identification and survey training for a group of adults with disabilities. These volunteers will make follow up visits to sites submitted by the public to verify whether they are indeed sparrow roosts.

Alison Bezzina, Senior Manager at Inspire said “Spot a Sparrow is a fantastic opportunity for our clients to discover new skills and interests, and to be a part of larger society by contributing to this important research. It is a true community project.”

The long-term objective is to use the information gathered from the public to highlight the importance of these trees to government and local councils, helping to protect them from development.

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